TORONTO - City high school students and graduates were hailed for honors and scholarships earned during the senior honors banquet held Sunday at Karaffa Elementary School and an awards assembly held Wednesday at Toronto High School.
During the banquet, those attending heard from guest speaker Vanessa DeCesare, a 2006 Toronto graduate, who is a speech and language pathologist at the Gables in Cadiz.
The banquet began with a welcome from Maureen Taggart, THS principal, followed by the invocation, led by Mykenna Risler. Special guests were introduced before Carol Murray introduced DeCesare, who told students of her journey from high school to working in the real world.
TORONTO SPEAKER — Vanessa DeCesare was guest speaker for the Toronto High School Honors Banquet held Sunday at Karaffa Middle School. DeCesare, a 2006 Toronto graduate, is a speech and language pathologist at the Gables in Cadiz. - Contributed
DeCesare said everyone begins their education journey the same way- a mind filled with questions and rules they couldn't quite yet comprehend.
"Seven years ago, I was a senior sitting in your seat with all of these things running through my mind," she said. "I didn't think twice about the cost - I just knew what I wanted to do. I wanted an education more than anything in the world. I saw an education as a ticket to a better life, my road to becoming what/who I wanted to be."
DeCesare said her first day at West Virginia University was the day she realized she was "just a number," and she was going to have a challenging road ahead to meet her goals. She told students at the gathering they would have to really knuckle down to make it in college.
"The workload in college is challenging - classes are tough, quizzes every day, papers due, speeches to write, etc.," she said. "I spent endless nights in the library with a coffee in hand trying to cram every last bit of knowledge in for a test. In addition to the full course load, I was working a part-time job to pay for all of my expenses. That's when I learned to use time-management and organization skills.
DeCesare congratulated students on their achievements and said to keep striving for success, no matter the cost. She also told them to find what they love to do and go for it.
Administrators noted students invited to the honors banquet must have been either named to the principal's list at least once during the school year; named to the honor roll three times during the school year; are current members of the National Honor Society; or achieved a 3.2 or higher cumulative grade-point average as a senior.
Senior award recipients included Deszahrae Carter, Devin Coil, Carley Cooper, Angelo DeCesare, Emily Forcone, Melissa DiStefano, Dillan Gault, Jacob Haynes, Cari Horne, Taylor Linn, Grant Scott, Austin Lucas, John Marriner, Anna Martaus, Brad Melville, Andrew Miller, Tyler Owens, Erica Price, Megan Payton, Mykenna Risler, John Rodesh, Lisa Scalley, Shane Sears, Mariah Turner, Kalie Yasho and Larry White.
Junior award recipients included Lindsay Bodnar, Holly Eckard, Amber Fuller, Chelsea Henry, Danielle Mason, Kaylee Peckens, Mary Pettus, Kristen Pursley, Brianna Schramm, Alyssa Simon, Emily Williamson
Sophomore award recipients were Jordan Allison, Maria Dunlope, Alec Haynes, Ben Hlivko, Emily Rodesh and Deanna Swearingen.
Freshmen award recipients were Emily Anderson, Lucas Anderson, Drew Bigler, Mollie Chetock, Blaisen Glenn, Erin Heaton and Josey Jones.
The Toronto High School Honors Assembly held Wednesday included awards and scholarships presented to graduating seniors.
Recipients of diplomas with honors were Jacob Haynes, Austin Lucas, Megan Payton, Mykenna Risler and John Rodesh IV. The Award of Merit was given to Deszahrae Carter, Jacob Haynes, Austin Lucas, Andrew Miller, Megan Payton, Mykenna Risler, John Rodesh IV and Lisa Scalley. Emily Forcone, Dillan Gault, Jacob Haynes, Brad Melville, John Rodesh IV, Mariah Turner and Kalie Yasho were recipients of the President's Education Award. The Class of 2013 honor students were Deszahrae Carter, Devin Coil, Carley Cooper, Angelo DeCesare, Melissa DiStefano, Emily Forcone, Jacob Haynes, Taylor Linn, Austin Lucas, Anna Martaus, Andrew Miller, Tyler Owens, Erica Price, Grant Scott and Larry White.
Cari Horne, Brad Melville, Mykenna Risler, and John Rodesh IV were named the valedictorians of the Class of 2013. Kalie Yasho was named the salutatorian of the Class of 2013. The remainder of the top 10 of the Class of 2013 are Megan Payton, Shane Sears, Mariah Turner, Dillan Gault and Lisa Scalley.
The Rotary Club Scholarship went to Rebecca Schaming. THS Alumni scholarships were awarded to Shane Sears, Austin Lucas, Erica Price, Mykenna Risler, Cari Horne, Jacob Haynes, Dylan Ault, Deszahrae Carter, Megan Payton, Andrew Miller, Mariah Turner, Erica Price and Rebecca Schaming. The recipient of the THS Alumni Association Foundation Scholarship was Kalie Yasho.
The Robert T. Hughes Memorial Grant went to John Rodesh IV. The Dr. Verne McConnell Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Brad Melville, and the Jason Motto Memorial Award went to Tyler Owens. The recipient of the Cliff and Hazel Walker Award was Taylor Linn. The Bill and Betty Davis Award went to Madison Stoica. The Titan Cheerleader Award recipient was Carley Cooper, and the Titan Football Player Award recipient was Joey Chadwick.
Lisa Scalley received the Dr. Jane Shaffer Award, and the Ed Gray Award was presented to Emily Forcone. The Hugh O'Brien Leadership Award was awarded to Emily Rodesh. The recipient of the Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award was Holly Eckard, and the George Gundling Award went to Jacob Haynes. The Eastern Gateway Community College Scholarship was awarded to Cari Horne, and the Clara Hays Scholarship went to Grant Scott.
T.E.A. Scholarships were awarded to John Rodesh, Mykenna Risler, Brad Melville and Cari Horne, and the Riverview Methodist Scholarship was given to Mariah Turner. The Rod Henry Kiwanis Club Scholarships were awarded to Cari Horne and Taylor Linn. Recipients of the Chamber of Commerce Award were Austin Lucas and Cari Horne, and the American Legion Scholarship was awarded to John Rodesh IV. The Blaner Gift Scholarship was awarded to Taylor Linn.
Zac Calabrese, Sam Pinkerton, Josh Roche, Chelsea Anderson, Lindsay Bodnar, Holly Eckard, Erin Taggart, Katie Spadafora and Mykia West were announced as Buckeye Boys and Girls State delegates. The "33" John C. Yappy Smith Memorial Award went to Joseph Chadwick, while the "33" Wilda M. Flowers Smith Memorial Award was presented to Cari Horne. The Roberta Joan Weidger Memorial Award went to Rebecca Schaming. The recipient of the Student Senate Scholarship was Shane Sears. The Scott College of Cosmetology Scholarship went to Madison Stoica, and the Activity Account Scholarship was awarded to Rebecca Schaming. Toronto Masonic Lodge 583 Award went to Emily Forcone.
The Kathryn Hammond Award was presented to Shane Sears. The Larry Herdman Award went to Brad Melville, and the Frank "Windy" Kestner Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Joseph Chadwick. The Samuel B. Mumley Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Award was presented to Cari Horne, and the Lou Holtz Foundation Scholarship Award went to Emily Forcone.
OHSAA Scholar/Athlete awards went to Cari Horne and Jacob Haynes. The OHSAA Courageous Student Award was given to Tyler Andrews. Archie Griffin Awards went to Mykenna Risler and Austin Lucas. Recipients of the Athletic Boosters awards were Lisa Scalley and Grant Scott. Mariah Turner was the recipient of the Larry "Pappy" Coil Award.
The D.W. Hoover Award was presented to John Rodesh, and the John Phillips Sousa Award was presented to Dylan Ault. The Arion Award was presented to John Rodesh IV, while he also received the James D. Crawford Award. The Barbara Craven Award was presented to Dylan Ault, and Shane Sears received the Barry Stewart Memorial Scholarship. The Reanne K. Phillips scholarships were awarded to Deszahrae Carter and Melissa DiStefano. The Lucille Campbell Award went to Lisa Scalley, and the recipient of the Three Arts Award was Cari Horne. Recipients of the Charles M. Pugliese and Thelma M. Pugliese Foundation Scholarships were Mykenna Risler, Andrew Miller, Shane Sears and Kalie Yasho. The Joseph and Anna Marie Karaffa Award for Excellence in Education was presented to Jane Brower.